The first two episodes of AXN Ultimate Challenge Indonesia that aired last week presented a suspenseful, fun drama. The episodes began with a competition where singer Afgansyah Reza, aka Afgan, challenges Isyana Sarasvati to win the adventurous reality show, broadcast on AXN Asia’s television channel and YouTube.
The opening location of the competition between Team Afgan (Afgan and Reza Chandika) and Team Isyana (Isyana and Rara Sekar) is in Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, an Indonesian tourist favourite. The first challenge is presented at Rangko Cave in Tanjung Boleng – a 45-minute drive and 20-minute boat ride from Labuan Bajo.
Rangko Cave is a limestone cave with beautiful stalactite formations and has a pool with cool, clear water up to four metres deep. Despite its distance from the sea, the pool water in Goa Rangko is salty. Word has it that there are cracks inside the cave that let seawater seep into the pool. The beauty of the cave’s interior, particularly when sunlight breaks through, has made Rangko Cave notably appealing for tourists.
In the episode, host Richard Kyle is waiting at the pier as Afgan, Reza, Isyana and Rara arrive by boat. After handing over souvenirs – accessories typical of the local area – Richard explains to both teams that the first challenge is in Rangko Cave. Enthusiasm radiates from the participants’ faces. None of them have been there before.
The first challenge is the ‘Treasure Box Quiz’ and is rather difficult. One member of each team must swim from the starting point in the cave to a crate filled with numbered balls located in the middle of the pool. After taking one of the balls, participants must return to the starting point. The number on the ball they take determines the question they should answer. The first participant to answer correctly is the winner.
Afgan and Isyana represent their teams at the first challenge. Isyana is the first to return after taking the ball. However, she fails to answer the question naming four types of sambal – a popular chilli sauce that serves as a condiment in almost every dish in Indonesia. But straight after, Afgan also fails to answer his question. They must swim back and retrieve a second ball as the result.
Isyana finishes the race first again. This time, she answers the question correctly when Richard asks the name of the province where Padar Island is located. Isyana’s team is in the lead, 1 to 0.
‘We chose the right person to compete in this challenge,’ remarks Rara, who was overjoyed when her sister completed the challenge skilfully. While unsatisfied, Afgan tries to justify his defeat by making the excuse that Reza and Rara’s shouting and excitement resonating in the cave made it difficult for him to complete the challenge.
Winding down after the first challenge, host Richard encourages the four contestants to enjoy the natural beauty of Labuan Bajo from the peak of Padar Island. Once they reach the top and appreciate the exquisite landscape in front of them, their exhaustion vanishes.
For the second challenge, Richard takes Team Afgan and Team Isyana to Pink Beach in Labuan Bajo. Pink Beach is also a tourist favourite for its wonderful panorama. The mix of white sand with strong red coral (Homotrema rubrum) makes the beach sand appear pink. There are only seven pink-sand beaches in the world, and Pink Beach in Labuan Bajo is one of them.
‘The Pink Beach is well known in Indonesia, but this is my first time being here – calming and soothing!’ says Afgan.
‘When I was at Pink Beach, I was stunned by the view. I liked it a lot and will be back with my loved ones, my husband,’ Isyana says.
After a moment of enjoying the scenery, Richard announces the second challenge: doing yoga poses. One of the team members must take an envelope containing photos of four yoga positions in the sea using a paddleboard, while the other partner must do the yoga positions described in the photos afterwards.
Reza and Rara are the yogis for each team while Isyana and Afgan paddle to get the envelope in the sea.
There is a funny incident when the challenge is about to start. Isyana is having trouble putting on a life vest, so Afgan comes to her rescue even though they are competing against one another. ‘You shouldn’t help another team!’ shouts Richard. Afgan replies, ‘We are pals!’
Dramatic scenes follow when Afgan falls off the paddleboard after taking the envelope. He then swims back to the beach while dragging his paddleboard to hand the envelope over to Reza.
In the yoga competition, Reza unexpectedly manages to beat Rara. The score is all square, 1-1 between Team Afgan and Team Isyana.
After two challenges, the participants board a pinisi ship to get to the next location: Mandalika, a coastal resort in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. On the way, Richard asks each team to create an Instagram Story of their travel experiences in Labuan Bajo. The result will be judged, and the winner will get additional points.
Richard chooses Team Afgan’s Instagram Story as the winner. The score is 2-1 with Afgan and Reza ahead of Team Isyana.
While resting and having fun sailing the pinisi ship, the four celebrities prepare for their upcoming challenges in Mandalika.
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